This 2019/20 academic year, the Foundation has continued its sponsorship of the original 10 children and, through the very generous donation of our friends, the Riewer family, have added a further 5 children to that list. Following her visit and meeting a young girl whose story touched her heart, Karine has taken on the sponsorship of another child, bringing our total to 16. As before, each of the children will also receive a birthday cake on their birthday for them to take home and share with their families.

We continue to receive reports on the academic progress of the children we sponsor and are delighted to see that all are doing incredibly well, taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by Shahla and her team at Mother Miracle.

In addition to the sponsorship of the 16 children, the Foundation has provided funding for the table tennis programme of the school, paying for structural upgrades needed for the table tennis room as well as an additional table tennis table (to add to those the school already had) and the necessary bats and balls for all 6 tables. We are told that, when not engaged in their academic studies, the children of the school flock to the room for games.

Top Marks for Top Students

We are pleased to share that some of the sponsored children have just completed their Half-year exam and placed first, second, third in their class out of 24 students. Their names and percentages are given below:

1. Ravi Kumar (class 7th) placed first & earned 91.9%

2. Anurag Gusain (class 6th) placed second & earned 81.3%

3. Ritika Chauhan (class 8th) placed third & earned 81.8%

This is quite an accomplishment, and it is due to their tremendous hard work. Well Done!

The Foundation renews Mother Miracle sponsorship

The Foundation has renewed it’s sponsorship of the costs of education of “our” ten children, together with a birthday cake for each of them on their respective birthdays.

Karine is aiming to visit the school in November 2018 and to take with her the tennis equipment which we undertook to try to source. While there, she will discuss with Shalah, the founder of the school, with what else the Foundation may be able to assist.

more Miracle Birthday Cakes


Mother miracle April 2018 update

In April 2018, Karine and Chris met again with Shalah, the founder of the school, and spent several hours at the school.

They met, and spent some time with, the ten children whose education is being funded by The Foundation, helped in the distribution of cookies (donated by another benefactor) to all the 430 children and saw the upgrades which had been made to the school facilities since their last visit. Arriving just before lunchtime, they also watched the children having lunch (which The Foundation had sponsored for part of the year in 2017, with Greg’s photo still hanging on the wall of the dining room).

The school puts on an annual show in early April and Karine and Chris were delighted to be able to watch the rehearsals for the show. The performances are planned and choreographed by the staff and pupils and, in the week before the show, a well-known Bollywood choreographer and a few members of his team, donate their time for free to help finesse the performances. Both Karine and Chris were very impressed and moved by the performances of the children.

There have been two further birthdays among the ten children sponsored by The Foundation since the last write-up for the website and, as before, those children were treated by The Foundation to birthday cakes to take home for themselves and their families.

Two of our sponsored children, Anurag Gusain (class five) & Ravi Kumar (class six) have just completed their end of year exam and placed third (Anurag) and first (Ravi) in their class out of 24 students. Anurag earned a 77.4% and Ravi earned a 91.3%. This is quite an accomplishment, and a testament to their tremendous hard work.

In their discussions with Shalah, Karine and Chris learned of the children’s wish to learn tennis. This was, of course, one of Gregory’s favourite sports, having played since he was three years old, and so (in addition to other commitment, now being discussed by The foundation) they have undertaken to look into sourcing some tennis equipment for the school.

Shalah also said that good condition second hand toys are always welcome and so we looking at that, too.

Currently with 430 pupils, Shalah has plans (and space available) to grow the school to 700 pupils, but still has 63 current pupils without sponsorship, the cost of which is US$480 (about £340) per pupil per year.

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Letters from the Founder, Shala Ettefagh

Dearest Christopher and Karine,

Thank you so much for sending money for the birthday cake for Ravi Kumar. His birthday was on January 16th. We made a beautiful cake for him and gave it to him on his birthday. I am sending you his photo with the smiling face. He was very happy and thankful. Thank you for making his birthday so special. God bless you! You are the BEST!!!
With lots of love & blessing,

Shahla Ettefagh

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Dearest Christopher and Karine,

I hope all is well with you. Thank you so much for the birthday cake for Akansha Dwivedi. We made a beautiful cake for Akansha and gave it to her. She is very happy and thankful. I am sending you her photo with the smiling face. Thank you so much for your generosity and kindness to think about her. You made her birthday special. God bless you. You are the BEST!!! With lots of love & Blessing, 

Shahla Ettefagh

The children's Thank You letters to Chris and Karine are inspiring and touching

Mother Miracle Birthday Cakes

Karine & Chris recently corresponded with Shalah, who runs Mother Miracle school. As mentioned in an earlier post below, the school has set up a bakery next door to the school in association with a local baker (Karine & Chris sampled some of their delicious produce on their visit to the school last year), 70% of the profits of which are given to the school. Shalah has come up with the wonderful idea of the sponsors of children making a further contribution for a birthday cake for each of their children, as and when a birthday comes around.

The Foundation currently is sponsoring 10 children through their education at Mother Miracle and now each of those 10 children will be receiving a birthday cake on their respective birthdays…..large enough to take home also to give their whole family a rare treat!

Mother Miracle April 2017

In April 2017, Karine & Chris visited India to look into some projects in which the Foundation could become involved, initially financially, but with a view perhaps to longer term, practical assistance. Keep an eye on the Foundation website for further news of the form that such further involvement will take.

Karine and Chris travelled to Rishikesh, in Uttar Pradesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas and on the River Ganges, to visit two schools which had been drawn to their attention by friends as being projects with which the Gregory Mills Foundation may be able to assist.

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Mother Miracle school has been set up by Shalah Ettefagh, an American lady (from San Francisco) of Iranian descent. Much more detail can be found on the Mother Miracle website (www.mothermiracle.com). We would encourage you to read the full story of Shalah’s incredible journey.

Following a visit to India in 1995, Shalah was so moved by the sight of children living in extreme poverty that, in 2002 she sold everything (house, business and belongings) and moved to India. It took her several years of hard work and perseverance, but she has built the Mother Miracle school into a registered non-profit organisation which now provides English language education to the poorest, but brightest, of the children from the slums and villages in the area. Teaching in English is not what most schools do, but is necessary if these children are to go onto higher education and thereafter into well paying jobs and professions which will enable those children not only to have a better life, but also to improve the standard of living of their families and allow the whole family to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Many of the school’s children arrive to start their journey at Mother Miracle School malnourished. That is soon changed, as Karine and Chris witnessed. Shalah ensures that all the children receive a glass of milk at the start of the day; an “all you can eat” healthy lunch of vegetables, daal and rice (most eating at least twice and many of the kids going back three times to fill their plates) and, for many, this will be their only meal of the day; and a snack from the Mother Miracle Bakery at the end of the school day, which bakery is part of the school (and from which a share of the profits of sales outside of the school, go to the school). Karine and Chris visited the school twice : once during the working school week and once on Saturday, which day is a weekend in most schools, but which is used by Mother Miracle School for the children to participate in sports, art and other non-academic pastimes. The kids clearly were happy, healthy and excelling in their studies. There was a real sense of community.

Shalah has instigated a programme which, in due course, she hopes will see the school 80% self-funded. The children, now benefitting from the work of Shalah and her team and the financial support of benefactors such as The Gregory Mills Foundation, enter into an agreement with Shalah. The agreement is that, on their graduation and after a period of entry into the workplace, those children (by then, young adults) will give back to the school by funding the education of one or two of the school’s then students.

Following the visit, The Gregory Mills Foundation has arranged to fund the meals and snacks for all 399 children and 39 staff for 4 months. That will see served 438 meals, six days a week, for 4 months. That is over 42,000 meals over the period of sponsorship and, if one assumes an average of two plates of food per person, a total of over 84,000 plates of food! Given his love of food and cooking and the sharing of food with others, Greg would have been very happy with his Foundation contributing in this way.

In addition, the Foundation has agreed to sponsor 10 children (5 boys and 5 girls) through their entire education at Mother Miracle School. Those 10 children are:

1-     Mohit Rawat class 9 (Boy)

2-     Ayush Pal      class 8 (Boy)

3-     Prince Puhal class 8 (Boy)

4-     Ravi Kumar class 6 (Boy)

5-     Anurag Gusai class 5 (Boy)

6-     Radhika Mahar class 9 (Girl)

7-     Astha Sharma class 9 (Girl)

8-     Shivani Badoni class 8 (Girl)

9-     Akansha Dwivedi class 7 (Girl)

10-   Ritika Chauhan class 7(Girl)

Further information on these children and their progress through the school will be added to the Foundation website from time to time.

Dearest Christopher & Karine Mills,

We put Gregory framed photo up on the wall of our dining hall. Here is the photo of him and the kids ages 11 to 14.
We are so excited to have Gregory around us in our dining hall.

With lots of love,
Shahla

A Smile and Food Paper Bag Project